Star Trek Guide

Star Trek Picard Episode 9 References Classic TOS Villains

Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Picard Season 1, Episode 9.

Star Trek: Picard season 1, episode 9 contains a couple of sly callbacks to Star Trek: The Original Series. As the Patrick Stewart-led CBS All-Access series began its two-part season 1 finale with "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1", it continues to cleverly call back to the classic Star Trek that started it all. Previous episodes of Star Trek: Picard have referenced tranya from the First Federation and also, a vintage Romulan Bird-of-Prey similar to the one Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner)'s U.S.S. Enterprise fought in TOS also appeared.

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In Star Trek: Picard episode 9, Jean-Luc Picard and his motley crew aboard the starship La Sirena brought Soji (Isa Briones), the synthetic daughter of the late Commander Data (Brent Spiner), back to her homeworld, Coppelius. Unfortunately, their ship, along with the Borg Cube Artifact controlled by Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), was brought to the ground by the Orchids, which are massive, flower-shaped vessels built by Soji's synthetic family on Coppelius. As Picard's team got ready to disembark, Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd) urged the crew to arm themselves because "We might run into... I don't know... angry reptiloids out there, or homicidal fungi". These seem like strange things to be wary of, but Raffi is well-aware that in Starfleet's history of exploring the final frontier, the crew of Kirk's Starship Enterprise already had fateful encounters which those very things.

Raffi's "angry reptiloids" remark is likely a reference to the Gorn, one of Kirk's most infamous enemies. In the TOS episode "Arena", a cosmic being called the Metron forced the Enterprise's Captain to battle the Gorn's commanding officer on Cestus III. Kirk was physically outmatched by the hulking, humanoid lizard so he ingeniously utilized his surroundings to create makeshift gunpowder to incapacitate the Gorn. The Gorn popped up again in the prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise, but Kirk's fight with the lizard is legendary; even Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) confessed he wanted to ask Kirk about it when he and the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine crew time-traveled back to the 23rd century. Of course, Star Trek: Picard's heroes met another reptiloid, a Beta Annari named Mr. Vup, on Freecloud so he might be the one on Raffi's mind instead of the Gorn.

The "homicidal fungi" Raffi mentioned is a deeper cut and it could be a reference to theStar Trek TOS episode "The Conscience of the King". When Kirk was a teenager, he lived on a colony on Tarsus IV, which had its food supply destroyed by exotic fungi. The governor, Kodos, made a horrific decision to put half of the colony's population to death to save the lives of the other half. Years later, aboard the Enterprise, Kirk met Kodos again; the governor was now posing as an actor named Anton Karidian (Arnold Moss) and his daughter Lenore (Barbara Anderson) systematically murdered everyone who could identify her father as Kodos.

Star Trek: Picard's TOS references also have some thematic resonance with episode 9's story. Despite Soji wrestling with "the logic of sacrifice" and her desire to kill Narek (Harry Treadaway), her abusive Romulan ex-lover, she decided to spare his life, which she came to regret. It flips the switch on Kirk's heroic act of mercy because Soji's choice ended up getting her synthetic sister Saga (Nikita Ramsey) killed when Narek escaped, bringing Soji one step closer to becoming the Romulans' Destroyer.

In "The Conscience of the King", Governor Kodos sacrificed half of Tarsus IV's people to save the other half. This echoes Sutra's desire to call upon an ancient federation of androids from beyond the galaxy to wipe out the Romulans and all organic life because she values synthetic life above all. But in Star Trek: Picard, the galactic armageddon posed by the synthetics federation is a far greater threat than any angry reptiloid or homicidal fungi.

Star Trek: Picardstreams Thursdays on CBS All-Access and Fridays internationally on Amazon Prime Video.